Former working president of the Goa Congress Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco on Tuesday joined the Trinamool Congress ahead of the Assembly polls due early next year.

This came a day after he resigned from the Congress and submitted his resignation as an MLA from the Curtorim constituency.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday described Lourenco as the Goa Assembly’s “best performing MLA” while welcoming him into the party. “Well-intended individuals like him, whose foremost priority has been the interest of the people, strengthen our spirit in this fight against divisive forces,” she said in a tweet.

Last week, the party had included Lourenco’s name in the first list of eight candidates for the Assembly elections.

After Lourenco’s resignation on Monday, Congress leader and Goa Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat remarked on Twitter that the Congress had successfully faced many storms, floods and tsunamis.

“Our functionaries have strength and mettle to defeat opportunists,” he added in a tweet. “Congress party is here to form government in 2022. I am committed to lead the party to a thumping victory.”

In recent months, several Congress leaders have left the party to join the Trinamool Congress as the latter seeks to expand its presence in Goa.

Last week, former All India Congress Committee member Martha Saldanha also joined the Trinamool Congress, according to PTI.

In September, veteran Congress leader and former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro had quit the Sonia Gandhi-led party and joined the Trinamool Congress.

In 2017, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 17 legislators in the Assembly. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which won 13 seats, formed alliances with regional outfits and Independent MLAs to form the government.

The Congress is now left with only two MLAs in the 40-member Goa Assembly – Digambar Kamat and Pratapsingh Rane.